Recordkeeping for individuals
Filing tip: To avoid delays in processing your return, claim only the credits you can provide the required documentation for.
Keeping good records is the most important part of your tax responsibilities. Generally, you must keep records and supporting documents for at least three years after you file a return. These records document what you will claim on your income tax return, including:
- all your sources of income,
- the total of any withholding and estimated tax payments you make, and
- the expenses you may be entitled to deduct.
Your good recordkeeping also helps you determine which valuable credits and deductions you qualify for and provides documentation if we ask you for additional information.
At the beginning of each tax year and before you claim a credit or itemized deduction, review these checklists to be sure you're keeping the records you need to get the credits and deductions you deserve. Each checklist includes detailed information about the proof we require if you need to send us additional information after you file.
Note: If we send you a letter requesting additional information, send us copies of the documentation outlined in the checklists; do not send it with your return.
Checklists for acceptable proof of:
- business loss
- child or dependent care expenses
- child and dependent relationship
- college tuition expenses
- itemized deductions
- rental loss
- self-employment income
- taxi, limousine, or self-employed driver income and expenses
- wages and withholding